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Joaquin Buckley ensured his permanent residence on future Ultimate Fighting Championship highlight reels.
The Finney’s Hit Squad product knocked out Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Impa Kasanganay with a spinning back kick to the face in the second round of their middleweight prelim at UFC Fight Night 179 on Saturday at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. A short-notice replacement for Abu Azaitar, Kasanganay (8-1, 1-1 UFC) hit the deck 2:03 into Round 2.
The two men engaged in a firefight, until Buckley (11-3, 1-1 UFC) authored an all-time finish. Kasanganay blocked a head kick and caught the Bellator MMA veteran’s foot. However, he held on for too long. Buckley immediately transitioned to a spinning back kick, his heel connecting to the face with concussive force. Kasanganay froze and collapsed backward. No follow-up shots were necessary.
It was the eighth knockout of Buckley’s career but the first resulting from a kick.
Breese Blasts Newcomer Bhullar
Former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion Tom Breese cut down K.B. Bhullar with punches in the first round of their middleweight confrontation. Bhullar (8-1, 0-1 UFC) met his end 1:42 into Round 1, his organizational debut an utterly forgettable experience.
Breese (12-2, 5-2 UFC) sent spit flying with a vicious straight left, reset in the center of the cage and leveled the Canadian with a crushing jab. Bhullar fell to the canvas, turtled at the Team Renegade stalwart’s feet and offered little resistance. Breese’s rapid-fire hammerfists did the rest, forcing referee Lukasz Bosacki to intervene.
It goes in the books as the fastest knockout of Breese’s 14-fight career.
Daukaus Ambushes Undefeated Ferreira
Team Balance standout Chris Daukaus wiped out the previously undefeated Rodrigo Nascimento Ferreira with punches inside the first minute of their heavyweight duel. Ferreira (8-1, 1-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 45 seconds into Round 1.
Daukaus (10-3, 2-0 UFC) sat down the American Top Team-trained Brazilian with a clean left hook, swooped into top position and cut loose with punches and elbows. The dazed Ferreira returned to an upright position and braced himself along the fence, only to be greeted by another left hook that dropped him where he stood and prompted the stoppage.
The 31-year-old Daukaus has recorded back-to-back-to-back victories, all by first-round knockout.
Kelley Rebounds, Denies AlQaisi
Team Alpha Male’s Tony Kelley rode a near-submission and two near-knockouts to a unanimous decision over Brave Combat Federation veteran Ali AlQaisi in a chippy three-round bantamweight encounter. Scores were 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28, all for Kelley (7-2, 1-1 UFC), who bounced back from his UFC 252 loss to Kai Kamaka III.
AlQaisi (8-5, 0-2 UFC) put his adversary in peril in the first round, where he secured a takedown and bit down on a guillotine choke. Kelley escaped, countered with a triangle and appeared to be on the verge of breaking bones with an armbar when the horn sounded. He left AlQaisi behind in the second and third rounds, as he twice countered takedown attempts from the Jordanian with brain-rattling knee strikes.
Kelley has won twice in his past three outings.
Chikadze Outstrikes Unbeaten Morales
Thudding body kicks and a bullwhip of a left hand carried Kings MMA representative Giga Chikadze to a unanimous decision over the previously undefeated Omar Morales in a three-round featherweight tilt. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Chikadze (11-2, 4-0 UFC).
Morales (10-1, 2-1 UFC) was a step behind the Rafael Cordeiro protégé from start to finish. Chikadze targeted the head with power punches and zeroed in on the body and legs with kicks. He floored Morales in the third round with a surgical straight right and pounced with hammerfists and punches for a potential finish. The Sanford MMA export withstood his advances, but his fate on the scorecards was sealed.
Chikadze has won six fights in a row.
Cortez Dominates Replacement Egger
Fight Ready prospect Tracy Cortez paired takedowns with positional advances and suffocating top control, as she cruised to a unanimous decision over Rizin Fighting Federation alum Stephanie Egger in a three-round women’s bantamweight scrap. Cortez (8-1, 2-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks from all three judges.
A short-notice replacement for Bea Malecki, Egger (5-2, 0-1 UFC) was essentially a non-factor. Cortez closed the distance with purpose, executed takedowns when the opportunities presented themselves and progressed to the back in all three rounds, securing her position with a body triangle that short-circuited her counterpart’s efforts. Effective ground-and-pound was the icing on the cake.
The 26-year-old Cortez will carry an eight-fight winning streak into her next assignment.
Debuting Ulanbekov Tops Silva
Former Fight Nights Global champion Tagir Ulanbenkov took care of business in his promotional debut, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Bruno Silva in a three-round flyweight affair. All three judges sided with Ulanbekov (13-1, 1-0 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Silva (10-5-2, 0-2 UFC) attacked the Russian’s lower lead leg with kicks throughout much of the first round, sapping some of his power and limiting his mobility. An undeterred Ulanbekov answered with repeated takedowns, counter right hands over the top and a punishing jab. By the time the 15-minute battle was over, Silva was suffering from visible damage to his right eye, including a cut.
Ulanbakov, 29, has rattled off four straight wins.